Kayl Anderson: Cooking up Something Good

Sept. 9, 2009


When looking at 6-foot-2, 250-lb, bearded Kayl Anderson it is easy to suspect that football is his occupation. Thinking that cooking is his passion off the field? Not so much.

With the dreams of one day opening his own restaurant with friends after graduating college, Anderson admits that he spends most of his time outside of football perfecting his cooking skills, specifically barbecue.

“Football easily takes up the majority of my time,” said Anderson, who is majoring in sociology. “But one of my favorite things to do when I do have some free time is work on my cooking skills. Eventually I would like to open a restaurant of my own.”

Anderson, a senior from Tulsa, Okla., has played in every game since his redshirt freshman season serving as the team’s long snapper for both place kicking and punts. Coming from Oklahoma, where the weather is slightly more forgiving than Kansas in the fall and winter seasons, Anderson has no doubt in his mind that the 2008 game against Missouri has thus far been the highlight of his career for multiple reasons.

“It was awesome,” said Anderson, who also enjoys fishing in his spare time. “It was such an amazing game, and then the cold weather and the snow just made it 10 times better. Growing up in Oklahoma, I never really got to play in the snow, so it made it a lot of fun for me to be out there and then to get the win on top of that made for a perfect game.”

While his dad and grandfather, along with his junior high football coach, have inspired him most along the way in his football career, it seems that his mother and her highly acclaimed Caesar salad have played a significant role in his love of cooking and appreciation for exceptional home cooked food.

Looking like a meat and potatoes kind of guy, Anderson had no hesitation in saying that anything that involved his mom’s salad is his favorite home cooked meal. Which begs the question…what makes it so special?

“Well, there is actually a special ingredient that she puts in the salad,” admits Anderson, “But I can’t say what it is! No way…it’s a secret and I can’t give it away.”

It seems the Andersons have a legacy similar to Bush’s baked beans secret family recipe and are not planning on revealing their secret ingredient anytime soon. Anderson has actually acquired some expertise of his own in making baked beans. He and roommate Brad Thorson have spent a lot of time perfecting their version of “smoked baked beans.” Along with those baked beans, Carolina pulled pork and, of course, his mom’s Caesar salad combine for Anderson’s favorite meal to make for himself and friends.

Anderson does not have to travel very far in Lawrence when it is time to take in some of his favorite food.

“My house has the best barbecue in town, so I don’t need to go anywhere else,” boasted Anderson.

Although no barbecue restaurants in Lawrence seem to be up to par with Anderson’s adept taste buds, there is a place in Tulsa, Albert G’s, that he admits to visiting frequently growing up and now when he gets the opportunity to go home. Albert G’s is a renovated filling station that continues to prepare its barbecue the old fashioned way, slow smoked over hickory logs. That style of barbeque is what it takes to earn a visit from Anderson.

Someday in the future Anderson would like have a barbecue restaurant like Albert G’s of his own. He might even be willing to grace the citizens of Lawrence with his fine barbecue cuisine.

Although he may not enjoy the barbecue venues in Lawrence, Anderson does love the close-knit community feel of the town and how it all revolves around KU.

“Everyone always wants to know how football is going and everyone is anxious come time for season,” said Anderson. “In my five years here I think there’s been a change where people around Lawrence are starting to care a lot more about football.”

Kayl Anderson may not be a name heard too frequently, but being a long snapper for special teams, that means he’s doing his job and doing it well. He does not have any set plans for after graduation yet, but whether or not he decides to continue with football or take on his hobby of barbecuing full time it seems that he’s going to be successful.